Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

An undeserved rescue for HorseWorld ?

It looks like HorseWorld's bodged up attempt to sell off its visitor centre site in Whitchurch for development may not be totally dead – in spite of being turned down by BaNES councillors last November.

HorseWorld's MD and the charity's trustees used the whole costly fiasco as an excuse to close the popular visitor centre in February. It now lies idle, the income it generated is lost, and the charity admits to being in all sorts of financial difficulty.

The perpetrators may yet be rescued from the hole they dug themselves into. On 10th July BaNES will likely adopt a new 'Core Strategy' that takes the Visitor Centre land out of Green Belt and turns it into a development plot, providing up to 200 houses. See p.12 of this for a location map. The land was offered, under pressure to up the housebuilding land allocations, as a sacrifice to Mr Pickles, and has been gratefully accepted by his Inspector.

What next? It looks like going through.... so expect HorseWorld to make the most of the instant leap in land value by selling the land to one of the big developers. Perhaps to someone like Barratts, who are already turning the other side of the narrow rat-run Sleep Lane into an extension of clone village Britain

What HorseWorld would do with the windfall is anybody's guess. Would they revisit their expensively prepared scheme for a new Visitor Centre / Arena, with its dodgy business plan and its reliance on added road traffic? Would they give their MD a performance-linked pay rise? Would they go back to basics and do what the charity is supposed to do?

Only one thing's for sure. 200 new houses here will not provide affordable homes for those who really need them. 

3 comments: said...


Interested said...

It would have been interesting if there had been a strong environmental lobby over 50 years ago when the 'new' Stockwood estate was being planned to be built on a substantial area of fields that were previously in Somerset.

We know that thousands of houses were built on those fields half a century ago. Would they have been in today's environmental climate? Had they not been built where would people have lived? In yet more multi-storey towers in the inner city?

If one looks at the city of Bristol,let alone the contiguous urban areas mainly in South Gloucestershire, there will be hundreds of thousands of people who would have been in severe difficulties had there been a ban on any housing on green field sites in Greater Bristol.

With the country's population rising by the year is it possible to accommodate all the new homes that are required on brown field sites? I can't see that it is.

If the first quarter of the 21st Century turns out to be the time when the inexorable green field land grab of past centuries is stopped where will the new homes be built?

It's probably not unfair to suggest that the person who bought the last new house on the edge of a village is invariably the most vociferous opponent of any more houses being built in his/her area. In other words, "I'm all right. S*d you."

I'm conscious that there are a lot of people in Stockwood, and elsewhere in the city and in the nation as a whole, who are against further houses on green field sites but who are quite content themselves to live in houses once built on green field sites. A certain amount of hypocrisy shows its head.

As to the Horses' Home I agree that it seems to have been mismanaged and doesn't deserve a lifeline, although that's not the fault of the horses.

Stockwood Pete said...

I'm lucky enough to have an ex-council house on an estate built at a density that would be unthinkable today (even if councils were still allowed to build houses!). The bonus is a big garden, big views, and easy access to more open space. So when I argue against more local greenfield building, I can see how arguably 'A certain amount of hypocrisy shows its head'.

I'll try to address this - perhaps in another post - without falling into the trap of denial... you make a good point.